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Design thinking is a strategy for approaching problem-solving. It’s not a solution in itself, but a process that offers a set of tools that can be used to gain insight into a problem, identify possible solutions, and develop those solutions through trial and error.

The steps in the design thinking process include:

 Process of design thinking

The steps of the design thinking process aren’t always linear. In fact, it’s often useful to cycle through the process — going back and forth and repeating steps as necessary — to arrive at the optimal solution.

Because design thinking is a philosophy for problem-solving, it works best in a workplace environment that is empathetic, collaborative, and open-minded with a strong bias toward visual communication. This strategy also works best in an environment where feedback and failure are not only tolerated but encouraged.

In this video, Karl Ulrich, Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Udemy instructor, explains what design thinking is and the organizational cultural norms that foster it.

Page Last Updated: April 2022